How Football Player DeShaun Watson Used a Knee Brace for Running with a Torn ACL

Athletes go through an incredible amount of pain to reach their goals. Whether professional or amateur, a knee brace for running in competition is not uncommon. One football player, DeShaun Watson, revealed how he once used a knee brace to play a game of college football when he had a torn ACL.

Now, we do not recommend ever continuing to play or even run with such a devastating injury, but it demonstrates both Watson’s toughness and what a knee brace could do for you.

Are Knee Braces Effective? 

The exploits of Watson demonstrate just how effective a simple knee brace can be for an athlete who has to run fast for long distances. But the key is to choose the correct knee brace to get the full benefit.

Watson never revealed the type of knee brace he could have been using. But under the circumstances he would have either used a prophylactic brace to protect the knee from further injury or an unloading knee brace to simply block out the pain.

On the evidence of Watson’s play, he likely used an unloading knee brace as the injury finally became too much and he failed to play in the next game for Clemson.

Will a Knee Brace Help Runner’s Knee and Other Injuries? 

Watson scored two touchdowns, made 269 yards, and won the game for Clemson when he played with a knee brace. On that evidence, it demonstrates that a knee brace can do a lot to help people make it through injuries.

It should be mentioned that a torn ACL is an injury that requires complete rest. No sports scientist would ever recommend playing with such a severe injury, even with a brace on. But plenty of athletes work through minor injuries using braces.

Knee braces can do a lot for runner’s knee and similar injuries. They stabilize the knee, limit mobility, and provide compression. These can all help in protecting the knee without forcing the athlete to quit.

So how do you know when a brace can help?

You should always consult your doctor if you are battling injury. He or she will be able to tell you how bad the injury is and whether you should continue to exercise at all.

What if a Knee Brace Doesn’t Help an Injury? 

It is not uncommon for braces to not help the person wearing them with their injuries. This is not due to the fact the brace does not work but more because the person chose the wrong brace for their injury. Not all braces were created equal, and if you wear the wrong one you will not get the benefits.

Most people do not understand the differences between the distinct types of knee brace.

You need the brace to be fit for purpose, whether that is recovering from an injury or running on a minor injury. There is no doubt Watson chose the correct brace (luckily or otherwise), so he was able to play through that torn ACL.

Last Word – Should You Run with a Knee Brace to Deal with Injury? 

Conventional medical wisdom dictates that Watson should never have been allowed to compete in college football with a torn ACL with just a knee brace to protect it. But he did, and he came through it to help his team to the finals. However, what people do not mention is that he failed to play in the finals because of this injury.

You should always evaluate your injury on a case-by-case basis but always err on the side of caution. Failing to adequately rest from a major injury can cause permanent damage and increase the chances of additional injury in the future.

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